ANDERSON — Managers at nine ethanol plants across Indiana signed a letter sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb this week urging him to veto Senate Bill 303, legislation they say is “engineered to destroy demand for homegrown biofuels” made with ingredients from the state’s corn farms.
The bill passed through both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support and is awaiting Holcomb’s signature. Once signed into law, it would mandate the placement of a warning label approved by the Environmental Protection Agency on fuel pumps dispensing a blend of up to 15% ethanol in gasoline.
The letter to Holcomb, which was signed by Dave Hudak, general manager of Poet Biorefining in Alexandria, asserts that the law would stall a recovery from a pandemic-triggered downturn in demand for biofuels. The warning label requirement, it adds, would “sow consumer confusion with language that conflicts with federal labels already required on each pump.” The end result, according to the law’s opponents, would be “regulatory ambiguity” and discouragement of more gas stations from offering E15 fuel.
“Make no mistake, SB 303 was designed to stall new competition at the fuel pump and prevent more consumers from saving three to 10 cents per gallon on a lower-carbon, higher-octane fuel blend,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, one of the country’s leading biofuel trade associations. “In the wake of COVID-19, the last thing Indiana’s economy needs is an assault on ethanol producers and our farm suppliers across the entire state. If the governor allows this anti-E15 bill to become law, Indiana farm families are going to be reminded of it every time they fill up at the pump.”